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Mining The Netherlands

Intriguing Stories Brought to Light Through a 3D Digital Collection

The Website

“Mining The Netherlands” is a space dedicated to showcasing some of the narratives that we have encountered in the past couple of months. They are complimented by different modalities such as: images of the mines and miners, video (interviews) and animations, and interactive elements such as H5P to test your knowledge. Additionally, 3D models are embedded within the pages of the “Collection” so you are able to fully interact with the artefact, like examining the textures and details up close. All of these modalities contribute to our goal, which is to help you understand and really appreciate the untold stories of the Dutch mining history.

This is part of a class project from the course ‘Creating Digital Collections’ of the MA Digital Cultures program at Maastricht University. After a visit to the Nederlands Mijnmuseum, we were tasked with creating digital 3D replicas of the artefacts in the museum’s current exhibition. The selection of models was based on seven themes: Saint Barbara, Branding, Communication, Daily Life, Health & Safety, Mining Culture and Lamps. These can all be found on the “Collection” page. From start to finish, we are grateful to able to have experienced such a thing and for the opportunity to share it with you.


Dutch Mining History

Hallo, Koempel!

Coal mines and mining were the lifeblood of Limburg, the southernmost region of the Netherlands. The mines were linked to nearly every aspect of life and provided not only jobs, but community to the people involved. As such, the rise and fall of the coal industry in Limburg is intrinsically tied to the lives of people who lived there. An overview of key events throughout this narrative, thus, helps illustrate the vibrant lives of people and the close-knit community derived from the coal industry in Limburg, spanning from 1890 to 1974.

Oranje Nassau I Mine


Following the end of European industrial revolution, the first Dutch mine opened in 1899. This was famously known the Oranje-Nassau I mine, where the Nederlands Mijnmuseum now resides.


Due to the growing challenges of competition with foreign mines (ability to produce coal with cheaper costs), a crisis ensued in 1958. This arguably began the decline of the mining industry in the south of the Netherlands, Limburg.


After the mines closed in 1974, there was no organisation to tell their story. Thus in 2005, the Nederlands Mijnmuseum was established to preserve the memories of the mining history.


The collection consists of various objects that originate from the Mijnmuseum in Heerlen, the Netherlands. All of the objects displayed have been used in and around the Dutch mines, and each model has its own place within a narrative on this website. This project’s collection is based on the following themes: Saint Barbara, Branding & Corporate, Communication, Daily Life, Health & Safety, Mining Culture, and Lamps. Within each of these themes, you can dive into a range of multimodal information, intriguing stories and interact with the 3D models that were created for this project.

Words to Remember

It was a way to make sure that everyone knew about where everyone should be, in what place.

Simone Claessens
The curator of the Nederlands Mijnmuseum

Most miners were quite young… 14,16,17… when they started working within the mines. What we had in mind in our free time? This is simple: soccer, women, music, and a bit of alcohol.

R. Adam
Former coal mine electrician in the western region of Germany, close to the city Bochum

"My children were still young when the mine closure was announced in 1965 and we realized that there was no future for the mining industry. They became entrepreneurs instead.”

Leny Thelen
Wife of a former miner

“You can say in the ugliness of Heerlen lays her beauty.”

Fons Bus
A volunteer at the Nederlands Mijnmuseum

In the fifties and sixties boys often followed in the footsteps of their fathers.

Nico Maar
A former miner

A short explanatory video on the “invisibility” of the Dutch mines – Produced by VPRO, a Dutch broadcasting company

Ontdek meer op de website van het Nederlands Mijnmuseum.

Hebt U vragen over het museum, deze website, over het project van de Universiteit van Maastricht of een andere vraag, stuur dan even een bericht.